Kipp Farrin certainly isn't your average Volkswagen enthusiast, and that's just one of the reasons we like him... Kipp's somebody you have to meet in person to fully appreciate his personality and style. On the one hand, he's a typical Mainer, with one of the thickest New England accents you'll ever hear. Now take a gander at this 1995 VW Golf Sport powered by a 1998 1.8T AEB motor.
He was born and raised in Boothbay Harbor, the best-known town in the great state of Maine. It's a picturesque tourist town that exemplifies the state - green, cold, rocky, damp, welcoming.
Modified Volkswagens, however, might be the least popular vehicle in Boothbay where you aren't cool unless you drive a truck. Of course, that never bothered the Kippster, who built the Mk3 exactly how he wanted it.
At the age of 16, Kipp's first car was this bone-stock Volkswagen Golf Sport. He definitely didn't rush into the creation, preferring to take his time, never imagining it would one day have an engine swap and OEM+ styling. Actually, he took a really long time, but that's fine because the outcome was gorgeous and worth the wait.
Kipp's vision changed drastically over the years. Yet he remained consistent about his passion for aggressively wide wheels. For many years, the car was equipped with a set of 16x9" Borbet Type T wheels, which looked great but weren't quite right...
He wanted something that couldn't be topped and his patience eventually paid off when a set of 17" Fikse FM5 wheels were found on a Porsche Forum. They had been used on a 996 track car and were pretty rough, but the price was right!
Kipp's friends at Independent Wheel sourced new polished outer lips and a pair of inner barrels to get the desired sizing; 17x8.5" front with 2.5" outers, and 17x9" rear with 3" outers. This gave the old school look he was after, but they also decided Audi Avus Silver paint for the FM5 centers would provide more contrast to the polished lips. Kipp understood wheels can make or break a car and, in our opinion, the FM5s definitely work their magic.
In order to accommodate the wide wheels, the fenders had to be pulled and rolled before the Mk3 VW was re-sprayed. It was at this point he also took the opportunity to fit a front-mount intercooler behind a smoothed fiberglass Euro bumper with molded Folger lip.
Other exterior additions included Rieger "M3-style" side skirts and a Dietrich rear bumper. It was finished with a shaved tailgate, although yours truly would later provide "Projektzwo-style" custom mirrors for the build.
Kipp prides himself on doing the Mk3 work himself, but is first to admit the car wouldn't be what it is today without the help of friends like Jake Winslow at Rennen Performance. He had a big hand in the engine conversion that started out as an ATP turbo kit on the factory 2.0L 8v motor.
After testing the limits of this combination at the local New Hampshire drag strip, he walked away craving more. So a 1.8T 20v turbo engine swap was conducted with Jake's help. But, naturally, it wasn't any old 5v - the pair decided to fit a ported head to improve flow for the hybrid T3/T4 60-trim turbo that runs on Unitronic software and sits on VF mounts. There's also a New Beetle intake manifold, custom Rennen charge pipes as well as a downpipe with high-flow cat and a 2.5" Techtonics stainless steel exhaust with a Borla rear muffler.
The finished VW motor dynoed about 300hp, so Jake also installed a Peloquin LSD, Techtonics flywheel and stage 3 Southbend clutch to harness the power.
Having built the Mk3 for his personal enjoyment, Kipp likes nothing more than a Sunday cruise with girlfriend, Elizabeth - who's supported his tuning passion for years. That's just as well because after getting paid to play with bulldozers and large trucks all day, he likes to go home and work on a project or two; whether it's one of his '64 Beetles, '83 GTI or maybe the '82 Volkswagen Caddy he's been restoring.
In fact, Kipp's living proof you should love what you do, and do what you love. And nobody can replace the joy he gets driving the car he built and the rest of us admire.
The only bittersweet caveat is that while his friends and family are able share in his enthusiasm, sadly Kipp's mother passed away before we could get these photos into print. She was always very supportive of her son and is missed by all her family.
1995 Volkswagen Golf Sport
Boothbay Harbor, ME
1998 1.8-liter four-cylinder AEB 1.8T with ported head, T3/T4 60-trim turbo, Tial wastegate and dump tube, Unitronic software, manual boost controller, 310 injectors, VF mounts, New Beetle intake manifold, custom Rennen charge pipes painted Audi Avus Silver, downpipe, high-flow cat, 2.5" Techtonics cat-back stainless steel exhaust, Borla muffler, Yellow Top optima battery
VW 020 transmission, Techtonics lightweight flywheel, Southbend stage 3 clutch and pressure plate, Peloquin LSD
drilled and slotted rotors, stainless lines
Weitec coilovers, Euro Sport Accessories brace
Wheels & Tires
17x8.5" f, 17x9" r Fikse FM5 wheels with Audi Avus Silver centers, 15mm Motorsport Tech 5x130 adapters, 205/40 R17 f, 215/40 R17 r Falken FK452 tires
Euro front bumper with molded Folger lip, shaved Dietrich rear bumper, pulled and rolled fenders, Rieger side skirts, Projektzwo-style mirrors, shaved hatch, two-bar badgeless grille, smoked Hella Mk4-look headlights, smoked tail lights
VR6 leather seats, dyed black headliner, Momo shift knob, VR6 leather shift boot, Auto Meter gauges and pod, white VR6 gauge cluster
Alpine head unit, Total Mobil Audio amp, 12" JL Audio 12W3 subwoofer
Dad, Kelly, Elizabeth, Jake Winslow at Rennen Performance (rennenparts.com), Thatcher Shultz at independentwheel.com, Randy Williams, Dan Williams at Dan's Auto Repair, Todd Hyson, Mike Doyen, Randy Vail, Mike Wallace, Hooker Holbrook.
In loving memory of my mom, Robin Farrin. "May the wind always be at your back."